Historical records show that there was no real concept of probability in Europe before the mid-seventeenth century although the use of dice and other randomizing objects was commonplace. Ian Hacking here presents a philosophical critique of early ideas about probability, induction and statistical inference and the growth of this new family of ideas in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The contemporary debate centres round such figures as Pascal, Leibniz and Jacques Bernoulli. What brought about the change in ideas? The author invokes in his explanation a wider intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics and the theology of the period. – Bibliography pp. 187-202.